Improved waterlogging tolerance of wheat and barley varieties may alleviate yield constraints caused by heavy or long-lasting precipitation. The waterlogging tolerance of 181 wheat and 210 barley genotypes was investigated in field trials between 2013 and 2014. A subset of wheat genotypes were selected for yield trials in 2015 and 2016. Our aim was to: (1) characterize the waterlogging tolerance of genotypes with importance for Norwegian wheat and barley breeding, and (2) identify which phenotypic traits that most accurately determine the waterlogging tolerance of wheat in our field trials. Waterlogging tolerance was determined by principal component analysis (PCA) where best linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) of the traits chlorosis, relative plant height, heading delay, relative spike number, relative biomass and an overall condition score were used as input variables. Six wheat and five barley genotypes were identified as consistently more tolerant in 2013 and 2014. This included the waterlogging tolerant CIMMYT line CETA/Ae. tauschii
(895). Chlorosis and the overall condition score were the traits that best explained the yield response of the genotypes selected for the yield trials. Our results show that early stress symptoms did not necessarily reflect the ability to recover post treatment. Thus, records from full crop cycles appear as fundamental when screening populations with unknown tolerance properties.
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